An article in today’s Washington Post reports that a number of people wearing rainbow-colored sashes were denied Communion at a Mass in St. Paul, Minn. The ostensible reason — Mass is an inappropriate place to protest. The gay parishioners denied the sacrament argue that they are merely celebrating their identity, not protesting.
Incidents like these break my heart, because they reinforce my growing conviction that my church has nothing more to say to me. I grew up mostly outside of church, enthusiastically participated in an evangelical Protestant congregation as a teen, and converted to Roman Catholicism as an adult. I have internalized the teachings of the Gospels and attempted to emulate the spirit of Christ (with questionable success). But I can no longer feel that spirit being exercised by my church, or rather, it is exercised so selectively as to reek of insincerity.
I have seen marvelous acts of love and beauty carried out in the name of Christianity, but incidents like that in St. Paul remind me that this love is conditional, with the primary condition being obedience to the laws of a man-made institution. One sentence in the Post article drove this home:
None [people wearing rainbow sashes] were reported yesterday in the Archdiocese of Washington, which has a policy of denying Communion to anyone wearing a visible sign of protest.
The denial of Communion is an accusation of sin. If protest or dissent is sin enough to deny someone the most important of sacraments, well, I am already damned.
Hat tip: Tyler and Lisa at Habakkuk’s Watchpost.